Work Begins on Fort Lee Apartments

BNE Real Estate Group has broken ground on Twenty50, a 194-unit apartment building near the George Washington Bridge in Bergen County, N.J., across from the uppermost reaches of Manhattan.

Fort Lee, N.J.—BNE Real Estate Group has broken ground on Twenty50, a 194-unit apartment building near the George Washington Bridge in Bergen County, N.J., across from the uppermost reaches of Manhattan. Construction on the $70 million, 12-story building is scheduled to be complete by the fall of 2013.

Designed by the Lessard Design Group, the building will offer a mix of one- and two-bedroom residences featuring 750 square feet to 1,200 square feet of living space. Amenities will include a concierge, lobby with water wall, resident lounges, a café, game rooms, fitness center and an outdoor pool. The property is also directly across the street from Fort Lee Historic Park, the New Jersey section of the Palisades Interstate Park, and a short walk from Fort Lee’s colonial town center.

Twenty50 is one of a number of multifamily properties being developed in the area in response to demand for that kind of housing. According to real estate research firm Reis Inc., the apartment vacancy rate for northern New Jersey—which includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Union counties—was 5.4 percent during the first quarter of 2010, and has been consistently dropping since then to 4.3 percent during the third quarter of 2011.

Livingston, N.J.-based BNE Real Estate Group has owned the site of the Twenty50 development for about a decade. It had originally been slated for condo development, but in the current climate—both in terms of demand and financing—rental makes much more sense, according to the company.

“Of all the ground-up market sectors, multifamily is the easiest to finance at this time, but certainly not at the levels they once were,” Jonathan Schwartz, senior vice president of BNE Real Estate Group, tells MHN. “Of course, sponsor and location are very important factors for lenders, so if you have the right team, the right product and the right location there are banks out there that have a lot of interest in the deal.”